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  • Date Submitted: 04/10/2011 01:22 PM
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Childbearing against the state? Asylum seeker women in the Irish republic
Eithne Luibhéid
Department of Ethnic Studies, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403, USA

Available online 16 November 2004.

Challenging standard accounts of globalization that ignore sexuality, race and gender as structuring variables, this article examines how childbearing discourses and practices have provided a means to redraw racial and national boundaries that have become destabilized in the contemporary era. Focusing on the Irish Republic, I show that, historically, women were annexed to postcolonial nationalism through their role as child bearers, understood in racial and national terms, and institutionalized in social policy and law. Today, in the context of accelerated globalization, the Irish government has required new strategies to construct the nation as a sovereign space. Discourses and practices targeting childbearing asylum seeker women have provided the government with a means to reconstitute the Republic as a sovereign space with a legitimate national government—while also generating new modes of racialization and racial hierarchies within Ireland.
Article Outline
Globalizing contexts
Childbearing against the state
Childbearing discourses as racial and nation-building discourses
Implications for the present
Globalizing processes have greatly altered, but not abolished, the significance of the nation-state. An important body of scholarship has theorized how governments engage in processes of “renationalizing the nation” in response to the challenges presented by globalization (e.g., Nevins, 2002, Ong, 1999 and Sassen, 1996). That scholarship, however, rarely discusses how women's bodies are central to renationalization processes. To address that omission, this article focuses on contemporary representations of asylum seeking women's childbearing in the Irish...


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